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NYT: Justice Department to Probe College Affirmative Action Programs

Image: NYT: Justice Department to Probe College Affirmative Action Programs
Harvard University campus (AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 01 Aug 2017 09:18 PM

The Justice Department under the Trump administration is planning to investigate and sue universities over affirmative action programs and policies that discriminate against white applicants, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

According to an internal announcement to the Justice Department's civil rights division that was obtained by the Times, lawyers are being sought for a new effort on "investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions."

The document asked lawyers interested in the project to submit their resumes by Aug. 9, the Times reported.

In addition, the announcement suggests that the project "will be run out of the division’s front office," according to the Times, "where the Trump administration’s political appointees work, rather than its Educational Opportunities Section, which is run by career civil servants and normally handles work involving schools and universities."

The Justice Department declined to comment or make John Gore, acting head of the civil rights division, available for an interview.

"The Department of Justice does not discuss personnel matters, so we’ll decline comment," Devin O'Malley, a department spokesman, told the Times.

Regarding who might be discriminated against because of affirmative action policies, the Justice Department announcement doesn't make clear, the newspaper noted, but it does use the phrase "intentional race-based discrimination."

The phrase "cuts to the heart of programs designed to bring more minorities to university campuses," according to the report.

Roger Clegg, a former top official in the civil rights division during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, called the effort "welcome" and "long overdue."

He now is president of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a conservative think tank based in Falls Church, Va.

"The civil rights laws were deliberately written to protect everyone from discrimination, and it is frequently the case that not only are whites discriminated against now, but frequently Asian-Americans are as well," he said.

But Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a liberal organization based in Washington, ripped the move.

She slammed it as "misaligned with the division's longstanding priorities."

The civil rights division was "created and launched to deal with the unique problem of discrimination faced by our nation's most oppressed minority groups," Clarke told the Times.

"This is deeply disturbing," she said. "It would be a dog whistle that could invite a lot of chaos and unnecessarily create hysteria among colleges and universities who may fear that the government may come down on them for their efforts to maintain diversity on their campuses."

The Supreme Court most recently addressed affirmative action admissions policies last year, ruling 4-3 to uphold a program that took race into consideration at the University of Texas at Austin, the Times reports.

Lawsuits are pending at Harvard University, the University of North Carolina and several other large institutions, according to the report.

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The Justice Department under the Trump administration is planning to investigate and sue universities over affirmative action programs and policies that discriminate against white applicants, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
justice, department, probe, college, affirmative, action, programs
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2017-18-01
Tuesday, 01 Aug 2017 09:18 PM
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